Time Share Vacation, Part 2

In Travel on April 14, 2009 at 10:32 am

Some of you may be wondering about the time share aspect of my vacation. Time share ownership is controversial and the general consensus seems to be that it’s not worth it, or at the very least, that it’s something best undertaken after long and careful consideration–something that you often don’t have when you’re being pressured at a sales presentation. In fact, I think it is the sales technique that gives time shares a bad name.

We bought our time share in December, 2007, after a sales presentation that lasted over two hours. We went to the presentation with no intention of buying a time share. That’s one thing that flusters time share owners: they wonder how they ended up with one in the first place. It doesn’t feel like a free choice. It’s quite possible to withstand the pressure, but the sales people have their approach down to a science. They know exactly what buttons to push. They ask if you would be going on vacation anyway, how much you think you’d spend on a typical vacation, where would you like to go, how long would you like to be gone. Then they point out that a time share vacation is cheaper than one without a time share. Of course they downplay the fact that you have to pay for the time share itself!

It’s true that our vacation was cheaper than it would have been if we’d had to pay for a hotel, plus we had much nicer accommodations. But that’s not counting what we pay every month to pay for the time share. Of course, eventually we’ll have the time share paid off (in our case in about three or four more years) and then we’ll be able to use the time share for “free.” And it will belong to us forever; we can even pass ownership down to our children.

As for the accommodations and amenities, they were superb. The condo was luxurious and fully appointed, the grounds beautifully landscaped and maintained, the service impeccable. There were several heated pools, one right outside our building, and an 18-hole golf course. We were ten minutes away from several of the Disney parks, and of course being in Orlando gives you access to a lot more. We really felt pampered and more relaxed being in a home-like atmosphere than we would have in a hotel.

It wasn’t lost on us that we could have saved the monthly payments for the time share and put together a luxurious vacation of our own. But the question is: would we have done so? Time shares push you to take vacations that you might not otherwise have taken. If you don’t use it, you feel like you’re wasting your money. And if you’re not using it, you might as well sell it.

We’re not due to use our time share again until 2011, which is about all we can afford anyway. Because even though the accommodations are already paid for, we still have to pay for transportation to get there. We drove, saving a lot of money on air fare and car rental, but still had to spend a fair amount on gas and an overnight stay on the way down (we drove straight through on the way back).  In retrospect, we should have gotten a time share closer to home if we were going to get one at all.

We’re still mulling over the pros and cons of keeping this time share. I don’t know how easy they are to get rid of, however. We might just have to suck it up and keep it. But that’s a prospect that isn’t all bad.


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